Monday, November 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Man kills ‘paramour’ of sister 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
The relationship between a married woman of Mundian Khurd village and her alleged paramour had a bitter end last night, when her brother stabbed him to death in Manakwal village.

Parminder Singh, alias Banttu, was stabbed with a long knife by Arjay Kumar, a younger brother of the woman, when the former came to the latter’s house to take her away. The alleged murderer surrendered before the police and reportedly confessed his crime.

According to his statement, his sister was married to a resident of Mundian Khurd village and had two children. She developed a relationship with Parminder Singh and was living with him for the past five years, he stated. He said he and the woman’s husband had tried to stop her, but she did not listen. He admitted they feared the man as he had a bad name, but they, after some time left her to her fate.

He revealed that a few weeks back, his sister returned to her maternal house in Manakwal village and told them that she had realised her mistake, but her paramour was threatening her to come back. He said last night, the man came to their house and forcibly tried to take her away.

The alleged killer said in a fit of rage, he picked up a long knife and warned Parminder to leave his sister. Parminder reportedly attacked him, at which he hit him with a sharp-edged weapon and kept stabbing him till he died.

According to the post-mortem examination report, the man had been stabbed 10 times. The police has registered a case. 



PAU leaves dist admn in the lurch
Transport facilities for players
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
A slight hiccup occurred in the way of providing transport facilities to players and officials who have come here to participate in the 31st National Games, as Punjab Agricultural University did not provide the promised 10 vehicles to the district administration for the purpose.

The last-minute delay caused anxiety among the organisers as about 900 vehicles were required for transportation of over 5,000 visitors. For this gigantic task, the district administration had asked for vehicles from several departments, including the government and autonomous ones. However, PAU has not provided the vehicles even as almost all players and visitors have arrived.

The vehicles of PAU were to be used for the transportation of players and officials who have been accommodated in the varsity hostels and guest houses. As the vehicles have not been provided, these persons are facing difficulties.

According to sources, PAU did not inform the district administration earlier and the last minute ‘refusal’ caused problems to the administration. The sources said a senior official of the district administration talked about the matter to a university official and inquired about the last minute refusal. The official is learnt to have said that the drivers were on leave and thus the vehicles could not be provided.

While the district administration sources stress that the matter would be resolved by Monday, reliable sources said the refusal to provide vehicles was being seen as another issue of confrontation between PAU and the district administration.

The PAU was upset with the district administration for not providing it a grant of Rs 13.5 lakh for the renovation of varsity hostels which were to be used for boarding and lodging of the players. The university never got the money and, later, the MC decided to get the repairs done on its own. However, latest reports about the condition of the hostels indicate that the renovation was not complete. 



10,000 cops deployed
National Games opening ceremony
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
The city is all set to be converted into a police cantonment as over 10,000 strong police force will be deployed for the opening ceremony of the National Games. The district police heaved a sigh of relief last evening, when the ‘much-needed’ police contingent from Khanna, Jagraon and Ropar police reached the city to assist the local police in providing foolproof security in the stadium, especially during the opening ceremony which would be attended by the Home Minister, Mr L.K Advani, and the Union Sports Minister, Ms Uma Bharti.

Along with this police contingent from Border and Patiala Range will arrive in the city tonight or tomorrow morning after doing duty at the bi-centenary celebrations of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s coronation scheduled to be held in Amritsar today.

The decision of sending force from other districts to Ludhiana for the opening ceremony and later days of the National Games had in fact led to a controversy as due to the busy schedule of VIPs, important functions and National Games, officials of the other police districts had refused to do duty in Ludhiana.

The local police authorities had to write a letter to the IG, Zonal, and the state government for providing them with additional manpower, which was accepted after much dilly-dallying.



Maharaja’s fort lies forgotten amid the din of celebrations
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, November 18
While the state government is spending crores to commemorate the bi-centenary celebrations of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s coronation, the Phillaur Fort, the only fort constructed by the great Sikh ruler in Punjab on the banks of Sutlej river is awaiting funds for conservation.

While three years ago some funds were provided by the state government with which the right side of the fort was renovated, but not a single penny has been provided for the conservation of the fort since then. It is ironic that on one side the state government is organising massive functions to commemorate the life and times of the king better known as the Lion of Punjab, and on the other, his only existing relic was being given a shabby treatment.

The fort in which Maharaja Ranjit Singh Police Training Academy is housed is being maintained on a petty budget by the academy officials. However, in the absence of the financial grant, the fort, especially its left side is crumbling. For security reasons it was not possible to get the dilapidated portion of the fort photographed.

Any visitor can, however, easily see the pitiable state of the fort. Even the massive Delhi and Lahore Forts have developed cracks. Though the academy officials have tried to fill the cracks and white wash them but it has failed to camouflage the decay. The crumbled state of the fort becomes a major embarrassment for the authorities when the visiting delegates ask them who was responsible for the bad condition of the fort.

Sources said the academy had written to the state government and the conservation department several times for providing grant or arranging for conservation experts for the fort but the funds had not been provided. A major portion of the fort which was used as hostel for the trainees has already crumbled.

In fact on the Annual Passing Out Day Parade last year, the former Director of the Academy, Mr A.A Siddiqui, had openly drew the attention of the state government towards the crumbling fort and reminded them that money was required to save it for posterity. Mr Siddiqui also reminded the state government that a special grant of Rs 1.5 crore was announced by the state government in March 1997 but no funds had been released so far. Mr Bikramjit Singh, Principal Secretary Home Affairs and Justice, who was the chief guest on the occasion had promised that the government would solve the problem immediately. But the promise was yet to be fulfilled.

From ruins in the early 17th century to a serai in 1657 to sort of a mud fort in the 18th century to Military bastion of the Sher-e-Punjab in 1809-12 to the Police training College of the Britishers and finally to the Punjab Police Academy after the country's Independence, the fort has come a long way over the centuries.

The architecture is quite similar to one of the most impregnable citadels constructed by the Sikhs in BahudarGarh, Patiala. Though much smaller in size , the Phillaur fort has similar huge entrance gates and meandering paths leading to the inner residential palace. It also has moats or ditches surrounding the outer boundary.

The architecture was aimed to prevent the easy entry of enemy. While the moats full of water, and may be crocodiles too, prevented the attackers from trying anything too adventurous, the strong gates also put up stiff challenge. If the enemy managed to break in from the gates, the meandering paths, considerably slowed down its progress. Gunmen hiding in small spaces in the thick walls conveniently shot down the intruders. It required a massive army to win over the fort.

As suggested by the architecture, the fort was never designed as a residential palace. Situated on the banks of Sutlej river the fort was constructed at this strategic place by Maharaja Ranjit Singh as it faced the Lodhi Fort possessed by the British forces. The fort also gave an advantageous position to the Sikh forces to tackle any forces coming from Delhi. Two gates one called the Lahori Gate and the other the Delhi Gate stand testimony to its strategic position.

According to a brief history of the place inscribed on a large stone at the entrance of the fort, the town Phillaur owes its genesis to one Sanghera Jat called Phul, who owned most of the land. The town was then called Phulnagar. Apart from this not much is known about the life at the place until Naru Rajputs captured the town sometime between 1627-1658 A.D.

It is recorded that at the time the town was in ruins. The Rajputs selected the present fort site for the erection of a Sarai as it fell exactly on the Imperial line of road from Delhi to Lahore.

Later, after the rise of Sikh forces, the serai was captured by Sudh Singh Kakarah. He renovated the serai and it became a sort of a mudfort.In 1807, the powerful Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh recognised its importance as a transitory town commandeering the most frequent ferry of the Sutlej. He sent a strong force under Mohkam Chand which was stationed here permanently.

When the Sikh Garrison under Ranjodh Singh Majithia was withdrawn after the Battle of Aliwal the fort fell into the hands of the Britishers. In 1857 the rebel Indian forces revolted from within the fort against the Britishers and killed many of them. However they could manage control over the fort for a short duration only.

Subsequently, the Britishers gained full control. In 1891 they established a British Police Training School here and upgraded it to the level of a college. After Independence the training of police personnel continued at the place.

According to PPA sources they are doing their best to preserve the monument. A visit to the place revealed that their was no compromise as far as cleanliness was concerned. The walls have been painted nicely and even plastering of the cracks has been done. Special mention here should be made of a large statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a Dargah which is thronged by devotees every Thursday and of a museum of arms and ammunition that attracts tourists from the country and abroad.

However, the weakening of its structure from within is a cause of worry. Sources in the academy said the state government had been requested several times for supply of funds for the proper maintenance of the relic of Maharaja Ranjit Singh but positive response was yet to come.



Overbridge of woes
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 18
The construction of railway overbridge at Samrala Road level crossing, which has been stopped after a dispute over its length, is causing a lot of inconvenience to people and is also a major source of air pollution in the area.

The contract of the railway overbridge was given to M/s Gammon India Ltd , a private construction company . The length of the bridge was proposed to be 920 meters which would have blocked the main entrances of Model Town and many other localities .

Concerned over this the residents of the area met Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, during a sangat darshan programme held at Khanna on September 6 and expressed their resentment. The Chief Minister assured the residents that the length of the overbridge would be reduced to 660 meters instead of 920 meters and he ordered the officials concerned to take necessary action and to redesign the project.

The construction of the bridge was started on November 4. The project in charge of the construction company said the length of the bridge would remain 920 meters as the company had not received any direction from the government to shorten the length of the bridge.

Following this information residents of the area alongwith some elected representatives of the city organised a rally in front of the SDM office. After listening to the grievances of the residents , the SDM called the Xen and Chief Engineer of Railways to sort out the problem.

After holding a discussion with both the officers , he assured the residents that the length of the bridge would be shortened.

But the work on the bridge has been stopped since then while the road has been blocked due to the erection of a wall on both sides of the Samrala Road as no slip road has been provided for the traffic . All traffic is plying through the kuchha road leading to air pollution.

Mr Naresh Mehta , a resident of the area, alleged that all his family members were suffering from fever due to polluted air. A water tanker of local MC sprinkles water twice a day on the request of the ward MC to control pollution but it is not sufficient.



Rock Garden tells tale of neglect
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Nek Chand Rock Garden inscribed on a stone. —Photo Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, November 18
While the city is being decked up for the National Games, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), where around 3,000 participants are putting up, has not done anything about the Rock Garden, which has been telling a tale of neglect for the past many years.

The PAU Rock Garden was prepared around 25 years back. It was constructed by the then Vice-Chancellor, Dr M.S. Randhawa, to add to the aesthetic beauty of the campus.

Situated near the examination hall of the university, most of the students and teachers do not know that the place is named Rock Garden. There is no signboard near the place that mentions its name.

There is a stone with ‘Nek Chand Rock Garden’ engraved on it near the place, but it has been taken away by students for sitting under a tree. Another stone with some lines of Guru Nanak engraved on it lies in its vicinity. The students are often seen sitting on these stones under the shade of a tree.

A teacher told Ludhiana Tribune that the Rock Garden was the brainchild of the former Vice-Chancellor, Dr M.S. Randhawa. He had also got many such stones engraved with lines by intellectuals as he wanted the students to read such lines while studying in the university. He also got many other artistic stones put up. But over the years, after Dr Randhawa retired from the university in 1978, all these things were neglected.

The Rock Garden was a beautiful spot once. Constructed with the help of stones, there was a good lighting system. The garden fountains are not seen working anymore.

The lawns are now characterised by long and dry grass. The stones are covered with sand. Empty bottles are often found at the place.



MC to be tough with encroachers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 18
The month of December is definitely going to be cruel on those shopkeepers and roadside vendors of the city who have encroached upon public roads in violation of all norms.

Mr R.L.Kalsia, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, who took charge after the unceremonious exit of Dr. S.S.Sandhu, had convened a meeting of prominent citizens, including representatives of various shopkeepers’ associations last month and sought the citizens’ cooperation in this regard. The encroachers were given a fortnight’s time to remove encroachments. But at the end, Mr Kalsia was persuaded not to proceed with the proposed anti-encroachment drive in view of the Divali season.

And now the National Games have provided another two weeks or so to the encroachers, as most of the corporation officials are busy overlooking various aspects of the games.But once the games are over, the anti-encroachment drive would start in right earnest.

Mr Kalsia told Ludhiana Tribune in an exclusive interview today that the first and foremost objective of the proposed drive was to ensure smooth flow of traffic in the old city areas, particularly during peak hours. He had already retrieved the plan to clear more than a dozen roads in the old city of all encroachments. The plan had been prepared about a year ago, but had been shelved for reasons best known to the previous administrator.

In the next few days, he would be holding a meeting with SP (Traffic) in a bid to involve the traffic police in the whole exercise of ‘widening’ the city roads . Asked whether he was confident of achieving the desired results, Mr Kalsia made it clear that the city had to have encroachment-free roads if the general public was to be given relief as far as traffic congestion was concerned. And no effort would be spared in that direction, he added.



Counterfeit currency recovered
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 18
A policy party, led by Anil Kohli, SHO city, set up a naka near the A.S. College for Women near octroi post on Amloh road here. A Contessa car (number Pb-11-8787) was searched as per information received and found 81 fake currency notes of Rs 50 denomination. 



PSB Finance employees allege betrayal
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
More than 100 employees of the PSB Group of Companies are running from pillar to post to get their three months' salary and justice. They are demanding that they should be adjusted in the Bank of Punjab (BOP) as promised by the late Inderjit Singh, the founder of the bank.

They have alleged that the present management of the bank, which owned the company was not ready to adjust them in the bank and was also delaying the payment of salaries. The management is also allegedly threatening the employees to submit their resignations or their services would be terminated without even nominal compensation of three months' wages.

Mr Hargobind Singh, president of the PSB Finance Employees Union, alleged, ‘‘We were promised by the founder of the group of companies that we would be adjusted in the BOP, once it attained financial viability, so we agreed to work for just Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,500 monthly wages. We assisted in raising Rs 140 crore deposits during 1981 and 1993 period. Later, the management got a license from the RBI to set up BOP on the basis of these deposits, but we were never adjusted in the bank.’’

The union leader further alleged that in view of the new guidelines of the RBI, the management had decided to close down these finance companies. Though the company has almost repaid the amount deposited by the customers in 35 branches spread over Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh and Rajasthan, the management had not reportedly paid interest amount worth Rs 10 crore to the customers for the delayed payments.

According to the union leaders, the management had also not paid any dividend to the shareholders of the company since 1998, thus saving about Rs 15 crore.

It is learnt that the late Inderjit Singh had set up four finance companies —PSB Finance Investment Ltd, PSB Finance and Leasing Ltd, PSB Finance Hire Purchase Ltd and PSB Housing Finance Ltd — under the banner of PSB Finance group of Companies in the early 80s to raise deposits.

Later, he set up BOP by showing the deposits of these companies worth Rs 140 crore to the RBI, and promised the employees that their services would be regularised and they would be adjusted in the bank.

Mr Hargobid Singh alleges that after the death of the founder of the companies, his sons, Mr Harpreet Singh, Mr Tejbir Singh and Mr Darshanjit Singh, the directors of BOP, failed to keep the promise. Rather, the employees were threatened with termination. About 50 employees of the companies were forced to submit their resignations by taking just three months' wages as compensation. The remaining employees, however, decided to struggle under the banner of PSB Finance Employees Union instead of bowing under the pressure.

They said the management had funds to celebrate the anniversary of the coronation ceremony of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, but employees were being forced to starve due to the non-payment of wages. The union leaders said for the past eight years they had assisted the BOP to raise deposits from the market worth crores of rupees, but they were not adjusted.

The union has threatened the management to fulfill the promises of Late Inderjit Singh and pay their wages, otherwise it would be forced to organise dharnas in front of the branches of the BOP. Mr Roop Singh, general secretary of the union, said the political parties as well as customers of the companies would also be approached to support their struggle. Mr Harpreet Singh, Director of the company, and Mr Arvinder Singh, Chief Operating Officer of the company, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts to get their comments on the allegations of the union. 



Bouquets, brickbats for Gorky’s novel
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 18
A function to discuss various aspects of the novel ‘Unjeeti Lanka da Ram’ was organised by the Sirjandhara and Punjabi Writers Cooperative Society at Punjabi Bhavan here today.

Dr Sarbjit Singh from Chandigarh was of the opinion that this novel was based on realism and the characters were throbbing with life.

The author, Dr Amarjeet Singh Gorky, had unmasked various weaknesses of characters of the Naxalite movement in Punjab, he added.

Dr Rajneesh Bahadur Singh said the novel was different in form and narrative. The author had adopted a new technique in this novel to stress his point of view, he stated. Aujla applauded the writer’s effort in showing courage in depicting his characters in a bold manner. Kulwant Jagraon said the writer had profiled all characters with great psychological insight and critically analysed the basic causes of failure of the Naxalite movement in Punjab.

Gurcharan Singh Mohe, Dr Kulwinder Kaur and Mr Sukhdarshan Nat criticised the author for laying too much stress on sexual relations of characters. Dr Jagir Singh Noor, Mohinderjit Grewal, Dr Gulzar Pandher and Dr Bikram Singh Ghuman spoke in favour of the novelist and appreciated his efforts to portray his characters in realistic manner.

Prof N.S. Tasneem was of the opinion that the novel had a dramatic monologue that fascinated the readers.

Two major characters of the novel, DSP Gurbhajan Singh Gill and Dr Rajinder Paul Singh, also participated in the symposium. The novel was based on the lives of these two characters with fictitious names.

The DSP confessed that the incidents depicted from his life were 95 per cent true. Dr Rajinder Pal Singh had some reservations and objections in the manner that the author had depicted him.



Healthy baby contest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 18
The district unit of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics organised a healthy baby contest at Lions Bhavan today.

Over 450 children under the age of five years participated in the show. The contest was divided into five categories. Group I included children from 0-1 year, Group II was for 1-2-year-olds children, Group III included 2-3-year-old babies, while Group IV was for 3-4 year old children and Group V had children between 4 to 5 years of age. 405 registrations were done earlier while 32 were on-the-spot registrations. There were three prizes in each category and ‘IAP Baby’ of the Year’ was given a cash prize of Rs 2,100.

In 0-1 year of age group, Mehraab was declared first, while Harmehar and Ravleen Kaur were given second and third prizes respectively. The consolation prize was given to Gursimar Toor.

In the second category of 1-2 years of age, Danish Goyal was given the first prize and Nikhil and Mannat Atwal were declared second and third respectively. Madhav Chopra and Dhruv Sharma were given the consolation prizes.

The winners of Group III (2-3 years) were Debang Chaudhry, Sushreya Saluja and Pranav Chopra. Dashanjot was given the consolation prize.

In the fourth category of 3-4 years of age, Gurpreet was declared first, Madhur Seerat was given the second prize and Arjun Walia got the third position. Dhvani Aggarwal and Arunesh Kapoor were given the consolation prizes.

The winners in the last category of 4-5 years were Asmita Aneja, Pranav Bhatia and Pearl Verma. Mahima Kapoor was given the consolation prize.

The sponsors of the event were Aventis Pasteur and Glaxo Smithkline. Mr Sanjay Wadhva of Aventis Pasteur said that event was sponsored to make people aware of thorough vaccination of their children.

Dr Rajinder Gulati, the general secretary of the academy, said that results were declared on the basis of general looks, weight, mental development, vaccination record, parents’ education, balanced diet of the child and total over all development. Mothers were also asked various questions regarding the upbringing of their child.

The panel of judges included leading child specialists like Dr Surinder Likhi, Dr S.S.Bedi, Dr A.K.Handa, Dr Ritu Gupta, Dr Ashish Dhawan, Dr Rajesh Verma, Dr Pradeep Handa, Dr Neeraj Thapar,Dr Sukhmeet Singh and Dr T.S.Gambhir.



Sena activists burn effigy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 18
Activists of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) held a protest march from the Jagraon bridge to the Ghanta Ghar chowk here today to protest against the alleged repression on Hindus in Bangladesh. They burnt an effigy of the Bangladesh Prime Minister, Ms Khaleda Zia.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Pawan Sharma, spokesman of the state unit of the party, criticised the Union Government for having failed to check infiltration by Bangladeshi Muslims into the country, who were indulging in anti-India activities. Mr Krishan Sharma, president of the district unit of the party, demanded expulsion of all Bangladeshi Muslims who were illegally staying in the country. He said the party would submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, demanding a thorough screening of all Bangladeshi Muslims living in Ludhiana. Anti-Bangladesh and pro-India slogans were raised at the rally. 



Dalit teachers allege victimisation
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, November 18
Mr Darshan Singh Ballowal, organising secretary of the SCBC Teachers Union has said the union would hold demonstrations in front of the DPI’s office at Chandigarh from November 19 to 23, to protest against the alleged victimisation of union leaders on the basis of false complaints and to impress upon authorities to consider Dalit teachers and employees at the time of promotions as per rules.

Alleging discrimination against Dalits at the time of postings and transfers, the union leaders Mewa Singh Mehmi, Sikander Singh, Major Singh, Harpal Singh, Balwinder Singh Gujjarwal, and Gurmel Singh Nurpur warned the authorities that if the present trend continued the union would resort to measures such as protest rallies and fasts. The Ludhiana unit of the union will send hundreds of Dalit employees to Chandigarh on November 22, said the leaders.


Excise dept introduces new regn. numbers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
The Central Board of Excise and Customs has introduced new permanent account number (PAN) based registration numbers for the persons registered with the department with effect from November 1.

The registration numbers issued to existing assesses will also be replaced with the new common business identifying number (B-BIN) with effect from December 1.

According to a circular issued by the board, the existing registration numbers, given by the range officer at the time of registration, the personal ledger account (PLA) number and the excise control code number would be replaced with 15-digit PAN-based ECC numbers.

According to the circular, the persons who do not possess new ECC number, should immediately apply in the manner specified in the circular. The board has also prescribed new procedure for obtaining central excise registration. The new applicants will have to apply on the changed forms mentioning PAN number, issued by the Central Excise Department. They will also have to submit attested photocopies of PAN numbers issued by the Income Tax Department along with the application.



Dead man’s eyes benefit two
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 18
Fulfilling the last wish of his father, Mr Parminder Singh, an assistant lineman with the electricity board at Jagraon, donated both eyes of his father Joginder Singh to the eyebank at Mansuran.

Dr Ramesh, director of the eye bank, said today that Mr Parminder Singh had lost vision in one eye. His cornea transplant was conducted free of cost later.

Dr Ramesh said, “The patient was so encouraged that he donated the eyes of his father after death.” The eyes benefited two residents of Ludhiana, who were operated upon free of cost.

In another case, Amarjit Kaur’s eyes were donated to the eye bank Mansuran by her son, Mr Gurdeep Singh. She was a resident of Goslan village.


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